You Can Be Fake
People act fake sometimes. They smile when they don’t feel happy. They say things they know you’ll like to hear. They give when they feel no compassion. I used to think this was always bad, like the ulterior motive was uniformly to lie and sell me something I’d regret later. Some fakers really are like that, e.g. certain auto mechanics and salesmen I’ve met. These people are fake for selfish reasons.
But others are fake for higher purposes. Maybe they’re sad, but they wish they were happy so they try to smile. Or they’re sad, but they don’t want you to be sad too so they try to smile. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s never ok to act out your sadness, or anger, or disagreeable feelings. But I think there’s something noble in attempting to exert some control, to understand the situation and let things out at the right place and time. People who do this are acting agreeable not because they want something from you, but because they’re trying to be something they wish they were.
It has deeper implications. Should I only act patient when I’m not in a hurry, or should I learn to calm my frantic mind? Should I only act generous when I feel compassion in my heart, or should I train myself to give freely in either case? Should I only tolerate people whose choices I already feel ok with, or should I try to understand even those I find offensive?
If you see a darkness in yourself and you realize you don’t want to be that way, then for a while you can fake it. Sometimes that’s enough, and over time you start to feel the way you act. I think that’s a perfectly good way to live and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.